Tim Kreider, writing for The New York Times:
In a 2006 interview David Foster Wallace said, "it seems significant that we don't want things to be quiet, ever, anymore." Stores and restaurants have their ubiquitous Muzak or satellite radio; bars have anywhere between 1 and 17 TVs blaring Fox and soccer; ads and 30-second news cycles play on screens in cabs, elevators and restrooms. Even some libraries, whose professional shushers were once celebrated in cartoon and sitcom, now have music and special segregated areas designated for "quiet study," which is what a library used to be.
People are louder, too. They complain at length and in detail about their divorces or gallbladders a foot away from you in restaurants. A dreaded Amtrak type is the passenger who commences prattling on her cellphone the instant she sits down and doesn't hang up until she gets to her stop, unable to bear an undistracted instant in her own company. People practice rap lyrics on the bus or the subway, barking doggerel along with their iPods as though they were alone in the shower. Respecting shared public space is becoming as quaintly archaic as tipping your hat to a lady, now that the concept of public space is as nearly extinct as hats, and ladies.
An interesting piece that I enjoyed reading.
I value my quiet time. In fact, I prefer relative quiet (read: low noise) over a jam-packed restaurant, bar, or club. I even have lunch every day in my classroom not because I'm anti-social and don't want to mingle in the staff room, but because it's quiet. I can decompress, gather my thoughts, and catch up on Twitter in peace. Noise just isn't my thing, and I readily admit to avoiding environments in which there's an abundance of it. I just don't like it, and I wish people would shut up more often. I am, without question, a Quiet One. (Of course, the irony in this is that I'm writing this post while sitting in a noisy Starbucks, but that's beside the point.)